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How does the Lebaniego compare with other caminos?

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015)
Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (2019)
Hi all!
After doing around 200km of the Frances in 2015 and the Portuguese last year, of course the camino bug is still active and I was thinking of a new route.
The idea of doing part of the Norte and entering the Lebaniego to end in the monastery of Santo Toribio is sounding like a good option that I could fit in my limited leave. I usually cannot take more than 15 days in a row for holidays.

That said, does the Lebaniego require any extra preparation than other caminos? It seems quite tough at some points. Any especial advice, or different equipment? How does it compare to the end of Frances or the Portuguese?

Also, if I was looking for a 8-10day walk, where would you recommend me to start? I would really like to try part of the Norte :) (edit: I usually walk +- 20km/day, and I am very happy to do a bit less in the mountains!)
 

intrepidtraveler

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Madrid, Frances and Finisterre (2015)
Camino Norte-2017; Camino Ingles from A Coruna - 2017
If you're interested in the Norte, start at the beginning in Irun and take it as far as time allows. The scenery in the first part is just beautiful and IMO fairly representative of a good part of the route.

Don't know anything about the Lebaniego but am interested to hear what others have to say. Not that I really need any more choices at the moment....
 

peregrino_tom

Member
Camino(s) past & future
.
Hi Anamya
I'd look into whether you can get special access or actually stay at the monastery at ST. That might make it a more powerful experience. If you just walk up there it can be a bit of an anticlimax: the holy relic is kept some distance away from prying eyes, in a secure box that's some distance from the protective iron railings which are themselves behind thick glass - you're not actually going to leave there saying "I saw the holy relic". Otherwise, apart from the chapel, there's just a small cloister and an interesting door. Also a gift shop and parking for about 50 coaches.
The thing that stopped me warming to the Lebaniego is that too often you sense the dead, bureacratic hand of the Cantabrian authorities in its design and management. And an absence of any consultation with local pilgrim associations and amigos - that's was my sense anyway, in 2016. There's a few km of steep mountain path after Cicera, but otherwise it's pretty standard but with a lot of road.
I think Intrepidtraveler's recommendation of just starting at the beginning of the Norte and seeing where you get to is a pretty good one. Then you can pick it up again another time - I think you can have a meaningful last day without necessarily having to arrive at a cathedral or monastery - non?
I think it's also worth looking at the Vasco/Interior route that also starts in Irun. After a couple of days in built up areas it turns all lovely and interesting. And the cathedral experience/tour of Santa Maria at Vitoria/Gasteiz is stunning. That's one I'll definitely do again.
Cheers, tom
 

amancio

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
Hi! lebaniego is quite lonely, you start with a lovely walk by river Nansa, then lots of tarmac (no traffic, though), and after Cicera son tough mountain ground and stunning views before going back to tarmac a few miles before beautiful Potes.

Peregrino_Tom mentions above: "I'd look into whether you can get special access or actually stay at the monastery at ST. That might make it a more powerful experience. If you just walk up there it can be a bit of an anticlimax: the holy relic is kept some distance away from prying eyes, in a secure box that's some distance from the protective iron railings which are themselves behind thick glass - you're not actually going to leave there saying "I saw the holy relic". "

That is not what happened to me and the group of us. Not only did a priest show us the cross, but he also brought it out of its glass cabinet and even let us touch the lignum crucis, no problem at all. I would, however, continue from Santo Toribio towards Espinama, Picos de Europa, Portilla de la Reina, Riaño, Cistierna... stunning!!!
 

RumAndChupacabras

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Jul-Sept 2019: Six weeks in Northern Spain.
Apr 2018 Asturias
May 2016 CP: Portuguese
@Anamya, now that you've done it, how does the Lebaniego compare? 😉
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015)
Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (2019)
now that you've done it, how does the Lebaniego compare?
Hahaha, thanks for asking :) There are a few aspects we can consider:

The trail itself (as a walking path): Tougher. Way tougher than Frances and Português, although much shorter. I would not recommend this path to someone new to trekking and caminos. It goes up and down non-stop, and sometimes it is very, very narrow. On the first day, we almost had to crouch at some points near the River Nansa.

The landscape: Much more beautiful. CF and CP are gorgeous, but CL was breathtaking in so many levels. It looked like at any point fairies or dragons would come out of their homes and fly around us, it was fairy tale / adventure / unbelievable beauty.

The infrastructure: what infrastructure? There were no places to eat during the day, the few churches were mostly closed, very few albergues and hotels, so little flexibility of where to stop. We had to carry food and water with us everyday, and on day 3 we actually ran out. The difficulty of the trail makes our body chew energy with a bulldozer. God bless a gas station that had chocolates and soft drinks after Tama, we could feel our sugar level depleting. No options to send backpacks ahead or take buses. Very few taxis.

So, in general, I'd say that while CF an CP were pilgrimages that made learn new things about myself and the world, CL was a challenge. Physical, mental. More old-style pilgrimage? Maybe. I cried sometimes. And I had a unique spiritual experience in the end, given the circunstances of my trip.

My advice is simple: don´t underestimate this trail. But it's a challenge worth taking.
 

Chris66

Castanja di Mana
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2018
Camino Lebaniego 2020
Picos de Europa 2020
Thnx for the update! I also are planning to walk the camino Lebaniego next year 2020 in May or June from San Vicente de la Barquera to Potes and then try a few day hikes from Fuente De. also see a lot of youtube videos about CL on the internet and most of them are spaniards..Is it true that there’s less pilgrims from outside of Spain? How about the albergues, do you book in advance?
 
Last edited:

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015)
Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (2019)
I also see a lot of youtube videos about CL on the internet and most of them are spaniards..Is it true that there’s less pilgrims from outside of Spain? How about the albergues, do you book in advance?
Hi Chris

I did not meet any other pilgrims while we walked, and at the monastery, they were astonished that we had travelled all the way from Australia. If you look at the official Camino Lebaniego facebook page, 95% or pilgrims they interview are from Spain. (https://www.facebook.com/CaminoLebaniego/ )

I booked our accommodation in advance (small hotels), because when we walked, my husband was recovering from hospital. But there is almost no one on the trail, so the risk is actually the places being closed for lack of guests. There are very few (almost none) options of accommodation and albergues, plan your stages well.

You can read how our walk went here: https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/our-stages-camino-lebaniego-april-2019.62071/
 

Kelly Catlow

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walking Camino April 8th 2017 start date - excited much!!!
Thnx for the update! I also are planning to walk the camino Lebaniego next year 2020 in May or June from San Vicente de la Barquera to Potes and then try a few day hikes from Fuente De. (any tip would help) I also see a lot of youtube videos about CL on the internet and most of them are spaniards..Is it true that there’s less pilgrims from outside of Spain? How about the albergues, do you book in advance?
Im looking to walk on 31st May from San Vincente de la Barquera so our paths may cross!
 

Chris66

Castanja di Mana
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2018
Camino Lebaniego 2020
Picos de Europa 2020
Im looking to walk on 31st May from San Vincente de la Barquera so our paths may cross!
Hi Kelly! That would be great!...but..😢
i think i would be back home already cause my boss expect me on the first of june..😂
I have the last two weeks in may to walk the lebaniego.
So when you start, i would be back home already.
Its the time I can get of from work.

Now looking for the best and cheapest flight to spain!🙂✈🚋🚠

I can keep you updated when im on the camino if you like, so you can prepare when you follow my trail!🙂Im so excited too!
 

Kelly Catlow

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walking Camino April 8th 2017 start date - excited much!!!
Hi Kelly! That would be great!...but..😢
i think i would be back home already cause my boss expect me on the first of june..😂
I have the last two weeks in may to walk the lebaniego.
So when you start, i would be back home already.
Its the time I can get of from work.

Now looking for the best and cheapest flight to spain!🙂✈🚋🚠

I can keep you updated when im on the camino if you like, so you can prepare when you follow my trail!🙂Im so excited too!
Thank you so much - that would be super awesome!
 

Chris66

Castanja di Mana
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2018
Camino Lebaniego 2020
Picos de Europa 2020
Thank you so much - that would be super awesome!
Hi Kelly,

Just wonder, did you go?
I cancelled my flight to Spain and put the journey on hold.
Crazy time right now with the covid19, hopefully next year.
 

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